The Constitution defines the territorial limits of the legislative powers vested in the Centre and the states in the following way:
- The Parliament can make laws for the whole or any part of the territory of India. The territory of India includes the states, the union territories, and any other area for the time being included in the territory of India.
- A state legislature can make laws for the whole or any part of the state. The laws made by a state legislature are not applicable outside the state, except when there is a sufficient nexus between the state and the object.
- The Parliament alone can make ‘extra-territorial legislation’. Thus, the laws of the Parliament are also applicable to the Indian citizens and their property in any part of the world.
However, the Constitution places certain restrictions on the plenary territorial jurisdiction of the Parliament. In other words, the laws of Parliament are not applicable in the following areas:
- The President can make regulations for the peace, progress and good government of the four Union Territories—the Anda-man and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. A regulation so made has the same force and effect as an act of Parliament. It may also repeal or amend any act of Parliament in relation to these union territories.
- The governor is empowered to direct that an act of Parliament does not apply to a scheduled area in the state or apply with specified modifications and exceptions.
- The Governor of Assam may likewise direct that an act of Parliament does not apply to a tribal area (autonomours district) in the state or apply with specified modifications and exceptions. The President enjoys the same power with respect to tribal areas (autonomous districts) in Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram.
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